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Gray Divorces and the Financial Implications

Divorce rates among couples age 50 and over are on the rise. These so-called “gray divorces” may be a result of many societal factors, including longer life expectancy, increased social mobility and earning potential, and changes in the stigma regarding divorce. Couples often stay in an unhappy marriage for their kids, but once the kids are grown and self-sufficient divorce becomes an option, especially if the aforementioned factors are at play. These gray divorces have implications that may not be present in other divorces.

If the children have already reached adulthood, they no longer become much of an issue in the divorce and separation of older couples. More often it is the financials that come to the forefront of the fight. This is especially important because at this stage planning for retirement should have started.

If you are a spouse in this age bracket, the most important aspect of the divorce and separation is the division of property. For a lot of couples, their questions will be centered around “How do I support myself now, and through the future, after divorce?” Unlike younger divorcees, there is not as much time to rebuild a new financial life. Older spouses are tied up with mortgages and loans, jobs are already set, and retirement accounts established. The extensive planning of a retirement together all of a sudden gets thrown out the window, and for many that is very jarring.

That is why it is extremely important to speak with a family law specialist if you are considering divorce at an older age. Retirement accounts will be evaluated, homes and mortgages must be addressed, and expenses and income must be considered to reach a comprehensive understanding of your financial outlook after divorce. From that, it would be wise to create a new budget to maximize and secure your financial future. Divorce will affect your income and assets. You will have to adjust for that impact. But working together with your lawyers will get you an accurate picture of post-divorce finances and allow you to create a new plan.